Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pretty Please??

It's always good to get first hand information from someone who has been out there hoofing it. Will Dixon posted this comment in regards to the post about multi-hyphenating oneself.

The hyphenate is a tough one - in my experience, especially in LA,
people/agents/producers didn't really want to deal with mid-level
hyphenates...they seemed to want to keep it simple..."you're a (insert title "director/writer/producer/actor/etc." here) - and I can sell you/think of you that way. I had directed a fair bit of Canadian tv when I moved to LA, but I had also just come off writing/story dept. of several series. A spec script I wrote was what the agent read that eventually signed me. And though she knew I directed and promised to also pursue that avenue (my preference), she generally always thought of me as a tv writer and usually introduced me to producers/shows as such. It was the easiest cleanest sell it seemed. As far as newbie's, I definitely agree...pick one and stick with it for starters. Although what you do when its five years later and you want to expand your label as it were, and the difficulties encountered then...well, that's a story for another time.
As I see it, a big part of the issue is that agents are specialized. Literary agents handle writing clients, talent agents handle actors, and director's agents...usually only handle directors or actors. It's rare to find a director's agent who also handles writers, and most writer-directors are handled primarily by a literary agent, and though you may end up with a directing agent on your "team," that person won't want to ruffle too many feathers by keeping you busy directing, if the lit agent wants you on your back pounding out pages. It just isn't done. Aside from these turf wars, there are very few writer-directors who are able to keep a real career rolling because writing is such a time-consuming art and so is directing. If you are purely directing you can afford to have multiple projects in development at a time. If you are writing, guess what? You'll be happy if you have time to eat, shower, and see daylight all in the same week. I know several writer-directors who have become very "big" names in this town, and the road was long and fraught with danger, and in each case they had a manager/producer type pushing them.


I just got off the phone with a director friend of mine who was complaining that his agents only call him because his movie was greenlit three weeks ago.

"They love you internally." I told him, since I spoke with a friend at his agency last week and she was all glow-y about him. He went on and on about how they thought he was funny, and he's good in a room and blah blah blah. "No," I said, "they love you because you're in production."

"Not on a movie they got me."

"But that's the purest kind of love," I replied. "It's untainted by any work on their part. How can you not love a guy who pays you 10% for nothing?"

And that is the truth about Hollywood....

Anyway, let's hope Mr. Dixon graces us with his story about trying to change horses mid-stream (and I hope someone out there caught that WAG THE DOG reference -- if you didn't cuz you haven't seen the film, get to the video store and watch it right now). Head over to his new blog and pelt him with requests for a war story or two. But don't say I said for you to, make him feel like it was your idea.... Pretty please?


wcdixon said...

"10 percent for nothing..." - ouch - you're gonna scare all the 'just starting outers' away, Diva.

No, you're too kind - but now the pressure is on to educate AND entertain....ulp!

wcdixon said...

Furthermore, agents stand to earn a lot more (you too I suppose) if they help place you on a series, as opposed to directing episodes's about the money, baby.